Daily Archives: June 16, 2013


1. Rationalism: Rationalism is a form of philosophy which seeks to understand Scripture in light of reason. The extreme rationalist will reject scripture and hold to some other philosophy. There are rationalists in the “Born Again” camp as well. They do not reject all of scripture but when the Word gives them trouble they will reject it.

Example: During the Carter presidential campaign Mark Carter was ask how he felt about women preaching. He replied that he thought that it was all right. (After all, his sister was a charismatic evangelist.) The reporter mentioned that Paul seems to forbid it. Carter’s reply was that this was one place where he would disagree with Paul. That is rationalism — if you don’t like it you don’t do it.

This is where the homosexual “Christians” are, if they are indeed Christians. They have rejected the clear statements of Scripture and hold to what they want to hold to.

Fundamentalists even do the same thing when they don’t want to follow the Word. We find a rational reason to say no I don’t have to follow that. Example: “That is cultural” we don’t have to do that anymore. Example: “That was for the age of the law when Christ was still on the earth.” We don’t have to do that. Be very careful what you declare to be cultural, or what you declare to be for another dispensation.

2. Mysticism: Mysticism has had several outworkings in people’s lives. Some have beaten themselves, some have given up food, some have given up intimate relationships, and some have even sat long periods of time on top of flag poles. Mysticism is found in two forms, true and false. The false teaches that by working very hard to become holy, sooner or later you will become pious enough to come into a direct relationship with God. This relationship varies as to the how of it according to the philosophy followed. Some see it as a contact with God while others view it as contact with the Holy Spirit. With this close relationship the person has direct contact with, and revelation from, God.

True mysticism is supposed to be the enlightening which comes from the Holy Spirit to the believer. It is this connection with God that the Scriptures teach and none other.

3. Romanism: Romanism is also called “Traditionalism” by some, however it should be viewed as a separate category. Romanism places the Scripture on a very high level, yet they place other things on the same level, which is not proper. (Example: The words of Christ and the apostles which aren’t recorded in Scripture carry the same weight as Scripture.) What the Church says also carries the same weight as Scripture. The Pope as well, when he speaks officially, speaks with the authority of Scripture. (This is only at special times when he is commenting on doctrine and dogma.) This allows the Romanist hierarchy to accept or reject anything they want to, and their people will accept it as right and proper.

Frank Eberhardt, a missionary to Catholics in Philadelphia, who is a graduate of a Jesuit school in the East, stated that the normal priest gets about 49% of his information from Scripture and 51% from tradition. In the mass they use about 5% of Scripture in a three year cycle. This is the only Scripture read in mass.

In an article on devotions, Pope Paul II mentioned that he read a certain percentage from tradition, a percentage from Scripture and a percentage from a good Christian book.

4. Traditional Or Cultic: These people are similar to the Romanist, however are not Catholic. They have a similar idea. They elevate their own teachings to the level, or above the level of the Bible. Some in this category would be the Mormons, the Christian Scientists, and some of the cults that place their leaders teaching before, or equal to, the Scriptures.

5. Orthodoxy: The orthodox protestant position holds to certain things concerning the Scriptures.

a. The Bible is accepted as the infallible Word of God.

b. It is the ONLY rule for faith and practice.

c. All information, be it scientific or philosophical, must become subject to the Scriptures.

d. There is no super enlightenment, or informing, or any further revelation given. The Scripture is complete as it exists.

e. The Scriptures are the truth and no man, nor organization, has been given authority to expand that truth.[1]



1. Saved: The natural man does not understand, nor appreciate the truths of the Scriptures, however the saved person can understand and appreciate what God is trying to communicate to him. 1 Corinthians 2:14 states:


“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”


2. Spiritual: The theologian must not only be saved but he must be growing in the Lord and walking with the One that he seeks to know. (1 Corinthians 3:1 indicates that the understanding of the spiritual vs the carnal Christian is different. Hebrews 5:11 also.) Growing AND walking are needed to be a good theologian.



3. Studious: 2 Timothy 2:15 states,


“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”


There is labor to be given to the study of theology, and we must be willing to put forth that effort to understand fully and enjoy the truths that God has for us in this study.


I have gone through systematic theology in four colleges and seminaries. I have taught through the entire ten sections twice in a Bible Institute, yet I find that I am still playing with the surface of the topics involved.[1]




Bibliology: A study of the Bible. (Comes from “biblos” meaning book.)


Theology Proper: A study of God. (Comes from “theos” and “logos” meaning God and expression.)


Christology: A study of Christ. (Comes from “Christos”)


Pneumatology: A study of the Holy Spirit. (Comes from “pneuma” meaning spirit.)


Hamartiology: A study of sin. (Comes from “Hamartia”)


Anthropology: A study of man. (Comes from “anthropos” meaning man.)


Soteriology: A study of salvation. (Comes from “soteria” meaning salvation.)


Angelology: A study of angels. (Comes from “angelos” meaning messenger.)


Ecclesiology: A study of the church. (Comes from “ecclesea” meaning assembly.)


Eschatology: A study of end times events. (Comes from “eschatos” meaning last.)[1]



Sermon: Re-digging Our Fathers’ Wells



I am preaching this sermon on Father’s Day, June 16, 2013. I hope your Father’s Day celebration is wonderful. 

Re-digging Our Fathers’ Wells

Genesis 26:18 NIV

18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

Today is Father’s Day

Today is Fathers’ Day. As often happens on this day, dads are served their favorite breakfast, presented with handmade cards that say things like, “You’re the greatest, Dad!” and, generally made to feel pretty special on this day.

The idea for a Father’s Day to balance the honoring of mothers on Mothers’ Day was the brainchild of Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. In 1910, after noting the success of Mothers’ Day, Dodd proposed that a similar day to honor fathers be set aside…

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Questions about the Christian Life: Are we to love the sinner but hate the sin?

Many Christians use the clich” “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” However, we must realize that this is an exhortation to us as imperfect human beings. The difference between us and God in regard to loving and hating is vast. Even as Christians, we remain imperfect in our humanity and cannot love perfectly, nor can we hate perfectly (in other words, without malice). But God can do both of these perfectly, because He is God. God can hate without any sinful intent. Therefore, He can hate the sin and the sinner in a perfectly holy way and still be willing to lovingly forgive at the moment of that sinner’s repentance and faith (Malachi 1:3; Revelation 2:6; 2 Peter 3:9).

The Bible clearly teaches that God is love. First John 4:8–9 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” Mysterious but true is the fact that God can perfectly love and hate a person at the same time. This means He can love him as someone He created and can redeem, as well as hate him for his unbelief and sinful lifestyle. We, as imperfect human beings, cannot do this; thus, we must remind ourselves to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”

How exactly does that work? We hate sin by refusing to take part in it and by condemning it when we see it. Sin is to be hated, not excused or taken lightly. We love sinners by being faithful in witnessing to them of the forgiveness that is available through Jesus Christ. A true act of love is treating someone with respect and kindness even though he/she knows you do not approve of his lifestyle and/or choices. It is not loving to allow a person to remain stuck in sin. It is not hateful to tell a person he/she is in sin. In fact, the exact opposites are true. We love the sinner by speaking the truth in love. We hate the sin by refusing to condone, ignore, or excuse it.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Sin: How can I know if something is a sin?

There are two issues involved in this question, the things that the Bible specifically mentions and declares to be sin and those the Bible does not directly address. Scriptural lists of various sins include Proverbs 6:16–19, Galatians 5:19–21, and 1 Corinthians 6:9–10. There can be no doubt that these passages present the activities as sinful, things God does not approve of. Murder, adultery, lying, stealing, etc.—there is no doubt the Bible presents such things as sin. The more difficult issue is in determining what is sinful in areas that the Bible does not directly address. When the Bible does not cover a certain subject, we have some general principles in His Word to guide us.

First, when there is no specific scriptural reference, it is good to ask not whether a certain thing is wrong, but, rather, if it is definitely good. The Bible says, for example, that we are to “make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5). Our few days here on earth are so short and precious in relation to eternity that we ought never to waste time on selfish things, but to use it only on “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (Ephesians 4:29).

A good test is to determine whether we can honestly, in good conscience, ask God to bless and use the particular activity for His own good purposes. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If there is room for doubt as to whether it pleases God, then it is best to give it up. “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). We need to remember that our bodies, as well as our souls, have been redeemed and belong to God. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do and where we go.

In addition, we must evaluate our actions not only in relation to God, but also in relation to their effect on our family, our friends, and other people in general. Even if a particular thing may not hurt us personally, if it harmfully influences or affects someone else, it is a sin. “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.… We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” (Romans 14:21; 15:1).

Finally, remember that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and nothing else can be allowed to take priority over our conformity to His will. No habit or recreation or ambition can be allowed to have undue control over our lives; only Christ has that authority. “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12). “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Catholic Questions: Are the seven Catholic sacraments Biblical?

“Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification” (taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia). The Roman Catholic Church teaches that while God gives grace to man without outward symbols (sacraments), He has also chosen to give grace to man through visible symbols. Because God has done this, man is foolish to not make use of this God-provided means of gaining sanctification.

In order to qualify as a sacrament, the Roman Catholic Church states that it must meet the following three criteria: a) the external, that is a sensibly perceptibly sign of sanctifying grace, b) the conferring of sanctifying grace, c) the institution by God or, more accurately, by the God-Man Jesus Christ. Thus, sacraments are not merely a symbol, but are believed to actually confer sanctifying grace upon the recipient. The Roman Catholic Church believes that all of their seven sacraments were instituted by Christ Himself. There are seven Roman Catholic Sacraments, and they are as follows:

1) Baptism, which the Roman Catholic Church teaches removes original sin while infusing it with sanctifying grace.

2) Penance, in which one confesses his/her sins to a priest.

3) The Eucharist, considered the reception and consumption of the actual body and blood of Christ.

4) Confirmation, a formal acceptance into the church along with special anointing of the Holy Spirit.

5) Anointing of the sick, performed by a priest using oil, anoints the sick person’s forehead and hands with oil; associated not only with bodily healing but with forgiveness of sins. When performed on a dying person it is called Extreme Unction (last rights, final anointing).

6) Holy Orders, the process by which men are ordained to clergy.

7) Matrimony, which provides special grace to a couple.

Following are verses commonly cited to support the Roman Catholic belief concerning the sacraments: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6). “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5). “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5). “that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,” (Ephesians 5:26). “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:23). “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” (James 5:15). “Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:17). “Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:54–55).

In view of the above Scriptures, it might seem by looking at those verses by themselves that indeed they do convey some benefit (such as eternal life, the forgiveness of sins, the presence of the Holy Spirit, or His power or spiritual gift of service, etc.). However, when taken in the context of Scripture as a whole, there is no foundation for the belief that God ever intended these passages to be taken as support for rituals as a means of conveying grace. In other words the whole idea of “sacraments” that convey saving grace upon people is unbiblical.

There are two of the main sacraments that specifically are said by the Roman Catholic Church to be necessary for one to partake of in order to gain eternal life: baptism and communion. Because of the Roman Catholic Church belief that baptism is required for salvation, they maintain that it is important to baptize infants. But nowhere in Scripture can you find even a single example or command to do so. Some Roman Catholics use Acts 16:33 as a possible example because it states that the Philippian jailor “and his family” were baptized. But taking this verse in context, we note two things:

(1) When the jailor asked Paul what he must do to be saved, Paul did NOT say, “believe on Jesus and be baptized and take communion.” Rather Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household” (v. 31). Thus, we see that it is faith that is the ingredient necessary for salvation. It was understood that one who believed would be baptized, but baptism was not necessary for salvation. If it had, Paul would have given it more weight in his missionary journeys (1 Corinthians 1:14–18).

(2) We see that the “family” could not have included infants or toddlers as it states in verse 34, that the jailor had “believed in God with all his household.” Infants and toddlers cannot exercise faith in God in such a fashion.

Again and again throughout Scripture, faith, not faith PLUS baptism, is seen as the means through which one receives salvation (John 1:12; 3:14–16; Ephesians 2:8–9; Romans 3:19–26; 4; 10:9–13; etc.).

Turning to communion, the Roman Catholic Church makes it clear that they take John 6:54 literally when Jesus says, “unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” The problem is that their belief that Jesus is speaking literally here is not in keeping with the context of the passage in which Jesus repeatedly states the importance of faith in Him and His coming atoning death for their sins (see John 6:29, 35, 40, 47 and how they are in keeping with the whole message of the Gospel of John as stated in John 20:31).

When one examines the remaining sacraments in context, one finds that the belief that they convey “sanctifying grace” is not in keeping with the context of the rest of the Bible. Yes, all Christians should be baptized, but baptism does not infuse us with grace. Yes, all Christians should partake of the Lord’s Supper, but doing so does not confer sanctifying grace. Yes, we should confess our sins, not to a priest, but rather to God (1 John 1:9). Having a formal training program and formal acceptance into the church is a good thing to do, but it does not convey saving grace. Being approved as a church leader is an honorable thing, but it does not result in grace. Marriage is a wonderful and blessed event in the life of a couple, but it is not the means of how God graces us. Praying for and with a person who is dying, and being in their presence is a godly thing to do—but it does not add grace to your account.

All the grace we will ever need is received the moment a person trusts Jesus, by faith, as Savior (Ephesians 2:8–9). The saving grace that is granted at the moment of genuine faith is the only saving grace God’s Word calls on us to receive. This grace is received by faith, not by observing rituals. So, while the seven sacraments are “good things to do” when they are understood in a Biblical context—the concept of the seven sacraments as “conferring sanctifying grace” is completely unbiblical.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

What can we learn about the Holy Spirit’s special role from the Book of Acts?

One of the cautions we must exercise in studying and teaching from the Book of Acts has to do with the difference between description and prescription. The difference plays an important role in interpreting the historical biblical books. The Bible’s description of an event does not imply that the event or action can, should, or will be repeated.

The role of the Holy Spirit in His arrival as the promised Helper (John 14:17), which Acts describes as a startling audiovisual event (2:1–13),had some partial and selected repetitions (8:14–19; 10:44–48; 19:1–7).These were special cases in which believers are reported to have received or been filled with the Holy Spirit. In each of these cases, the sound of a rushing mighty wind and the tongues as of fire that were present in the original event (2:1–13) were absent, but the people spoke in tongues they did not know (but others recognized).These events should not be taken as the basis for teaching that believers today should expect the same tongue-evidence to accompany the filling of the Holy Spirit. Even in Acts itself, genuine conversions did not necessarily lead to extraordinary filling by the Holy Spirit. For example, a crowd of three thousand people believed and were baptized on the same Day of Pentecost (2:41) that started so dramatically, yet there is no mention of tongues. So, why in some cases did tongues accompany the confirmation of faith? That this actually occurred likely demonstrated that believers were being drawn from very different groups into the church. Each new group received a special welcome from the Holy Spirit. Thus, Samaritans (8:14–19), Gentiles (10:44–48), and believers from the old covenant (19:1–7) were added to the church, and the unity of the church was established. To demonstrate that unity, it was imperative to have some replication in each instance of what had occurred at Pentecost with the believing Jews, such as the presence of the apostles and the coming of the Spirit, manifestly indicated through speaking in the languages of Pentecost.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.